Design Engineering

MDA Space awarded contract for ‘largest radio telescope ever built’

By DE Staff   

General Aerospace astronomy MDA NRC SKAO Space

Ontario-based MDA Space Ltd. has been awarded a contract by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to support the development, construction and integration of game-changing radio telescope technology for the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), an international space exploration and astronomy project that seeks to further our understanding of the formation and evolution of the universe.

The SKAO is the most ambitious ground-based astronomy project ever undertaken—which MDA Space claims will be the “largest radio telescope ever built”—bringing together countries to build and operate two telescopes for the global scientific community.

Canada announced today that has formally joined the SKAO, making it the tenth member of the intergovernmental organization that currently includes Australia, China, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

The SKAO telescopes are made up of arrays of antennas, including hundreds of mid to high frequency antennas in South Africa and over 100,000 low-frequency antennas in Australia. As part of its contract with the NRC, MDA Space will develop the project’s Correlator Beamformer, a powerful data processing engine that will collect and process the large volumes of cosmic signals received by the telescopes. Using state-of-the art embedded computing technologies designed by MDA Space in collaboration with the NRC, the signals will be processed thousands of times faster than average computer download speeds, giving scientists rapid access to vast quantities of new data and insight about the universe.

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“Projects of this size, scope and significance present a unique opportunity to showcase the expertise and innovation of Canadian astronomers, astrophysicists and industry while driving new discoveries and advancements in science and technology,” said Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA Space.

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